A Palestinian man stabbed dead an Israeli settler in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, the Israeli ambulance service and police said, in what may have been a response to a violent settler attack on a nearby village one day earlier that left two elderly Palestinians hospitalized.
“The Palestinian suspect stabbed an Israeli sitting at a bus stop. He died,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP, adding that the incident took place near a major junction which lies south of the city of Nablus.
It was the first time an Israeli has been killed by a Palestinian in the West Bank since 2011.
Israeli media said the attacker was standing at a bus stop used by settlers, Israeli soldiers and Palestinians when he stabbed the Israeli, a man in his 20′s.
The suspect then seized a gun carried by the settler. He began shooting at security services who arrived on the scene, Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said, adding that the man was in custody.
The Palestinian, a resident of the northern town of Tulkarem, was injured and admitted to an Israeli hospital.
The incident may have been motivated by a settler attack Monday in Nablus that left two elderly Palestinian men with severe head injuries.
Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that three settlers from the Itamar outpost raided Beit Furik and attacked residents with “sharp tools.”
Fawzi Nasasra, 60, and Abdul Rahman Khatatba, 50, were taken to hospital to be treated.
Settler attacks against Palestinians and their property is routine in the occupied West Bank and rarely punished by Israeli authorities.
Annual figures compiled by Israeli rights group Yesh Din have repeatedly shown that nine out of 10 police investigations about settler crimes fail to lead to a prosecution.
The Israeli internal security service, Shin Beit, has said that during 2012 no Israelis were killed in the West Bank. In March 2011 two settlers and three of their young children were stabbed to death in their home.
Nine Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank since the beginning of the year in various attacks, mainly in clashes that have risen sharply in recent months.
According to B’Tselem, an Israeli Information Center, an estimated 520,456 settlers live in illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
There are over 121 settlements and around 100 “settlement outposts.” There are around 12 settlements in Jerusalem in areas annexed from Palestinian neighborhoods. Settlements in the West Bank are connected by Jewish-only highways.
Israel has come under widespread international criticism for ramping up its construction of settlements in the Palestinian territories, notably in occupied east Jerusalem.
All Israeli settlements on Palestinian land beyond the so-called 1949 Green Line are considered illegal under international law.
(Reuters, AFP, Al-Akhbar, Ma’an)
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